Good food is directly related to a good mood. No matter how challenging your day was, turning to your favorite food can instantly uplift your spirits. However, whenever feeling low, most people resort to high-calorie, sugary and processed meals. While they are tasty and help uplift moods, they are bad for your gut health.
Digestive symptoms such as upset stomach, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea are often caused by unhealthy and processed foods. Experiencing these symptoms is not necessarily a matter of grave concern. But, if the symptoms are frequent, it can disrupt your lifestyle.
Luckily, you can enjoy tasty food and boost your digestive health with a few diet and lifestyle changes. Let’s learn some more about this in detail!
Switch To Whole Food
According to the National Institutes of Health, foods containing refined carbs, food additives (glucose, salt, chemicals), and saturated fat contribute to digestive disorders. They contribute to gut inflammation, ulcerative colitis, and bad gut bacteria.
Therefore, it would be best for you to switch to whole food such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, meat, fish, eggs, and more. It is because they provide necessary nutrients to the body and help ease symptoms of digestive disease.
Nevertheless, make sure to rinse the food before eating or cooking to remove harmful chemicals and bacterias.
Get High-Fiber Diet
Fiber improves digestion and reduces the risk of ulcers, reflux, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. In fact, doctors often recommend eating a high-fiber diet to relieve constipation. Fibers present in your food absorb water to add bulk to your stool. It further softens them and stimulates bowel movement. Not to mention, high fiber foods are generally low in calories; thus, it promotes a healthy weight.
Foods like pears, strawberries, avocados, apples, bananas, broccoli, kidney beans, etc., are good high fiber sources. They are also rich in prebiotics, promoting healthy gut bacteria.
Don’t Forget To Drink Water
Did you know that dehydration is one of the prime causes of constipation and bloating? Doctors often recommend drinking 50-66 ounces of water every day to prevent constipation. In case you live in a warm climate or exercise on a regular basis, you might need to drink more water. Water helps in making the stool softer and helps pass through smoothly.
In addition to water, you can also consume herbal teas, non-caffeinated drinks, smoothies, and fermented drinks.
Note: If you are dehydrated and consuming caffeine overtop, it can worsen your digestive health. Yes, it is true that caffeine helps stimulate digestive system muscles. However, excessive caffeine is dehydrating. Thus, it causes water to be withdrawn from the large intestine, affecting your health.
Increase The Intake Of Probiotic
You might already know that there are two types of bacteria, i.e., good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria help break down food that is not easy to digest, such as fiber, some starches, and sugars. Probiotics, on the other hand, are made up of good bacteria, promoting the body’s overall health. It helps ease the symptoms of gas, bloating, and pain due to IBS.
But, how can you increase your intake of probiotics?
They are generally found in fermented foods such as miso, kimchi, yogurts, and sauerkraut. In addition to this, you can also look for daily probiotic supplements. Nevertheless, make sure that the supplements you are taking are FDA approved.
Learn Stress Management
Studies have shown that stress hormones affect your gut health, leading to stomach ulcers, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and IBS. When you are stressed, your body does not get enough time to rest and digest food. It is because stress hormones hinder the supply of blood, nutrients, and energy to your stomach and intestine.
Additionally, your brain and gut are connected. That means, what affects your brain, also affects your digestion. That’s the reason why people suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress often complain about heartburn, abdominal cramps, or loose stools.
To improve gut health, you must learn how to manage stress. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and acupuncture have scientifically proven to ease digestive symptoms. These techniques help your mind and body relax, facilitating food digestion.
Have you ever paid attention to the way you eat? Do you eat too much too fast, or do you eat slowly? Perhaps, have you ever wondered if there is a correct way of eating? As for the latter, YES! There is a correct way of eating.
Research has shown that eating too much food too quickly can cause gas, bloating, and indigestion. Paying attention to the way you eat and practicing mindfulness can help reduce the risk of IBS and ulcerative colitis.
Now the question is- What is mindful eating?
Well, it means to:
- Eat slowly.
- Putting away the phone or turning off the TV while eating.
- Paying attention to the smell and presentation (texture and temperature) of food.
- Chewing your food thoroughly.
Pay Attention To Body’s Cues
People who do not listen to their body’s cues often experience indigestion and gas. According to studies, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize if your stomach is full or not. Therefore, it is recommended to eat slowly and pay attention to fullness. Believe it or not, it is an effective way of preventing undereating or overeating.
Also, bear in mind that emotional eating adversely affects your gut health. Research has shown that people who eat when anxious or sad experience an upset stomach more than others. Try to relax your mind and body before you start eating for better digestion.
Tip: If you have overeaten, do not lie down. Instead, go for a walk. It will help stimulate your digestion and control your blood sugar levels. If it seems feasible, you can also go for a bike ride. Make sure to drink water to get rid of excess salt.
To Sum It All Up!
Practicing mindful eating and switching to a healthy lifestyle is an effective way to boost your digestive health. Furthermore, good gut health helps elevate mood. To put it simply, your food and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on your overall well-being. So, you must decide the best for yourself.